We at City HQ are currently in the midst of managing our own community; our XCity community. This is made up of all City journalism alumni, including some of the highest flyers in the business.
XCity is a magazine created by MA Magazine Journalism students which is distributed to over 5,000 ex City students. The magazine also has a fabulous redesigned website. This is where the community managing comes into full force.
Our online team have been hot on the idea of including the reader and drawing in hits by making the target audience feel part of the project. Of course Twitter accounts, announcing new posts and maximising industry retweets, and Facebook pages have played a major role, but what they have also done is the introduce awards.
We have had two different awards. The Twit Awards and the XCity Award.
The Twit Awards, by the lovely Miranda Thompson from Infographics for Dummies, proved hugely popular and encouraged the reader to join in and vote in a poll for their favourite Twitter journalists, ranging from categories like best anchorman, best editor and best twitter gossip.
The XCity Award included alumni by voting for the winner of the inaugural award. The nominees were exclusively announced online, encouraging alumni and friends of the candidates nominated to visit the site. The winner was also exclusively announced on Monday and proved very popular with retweets and news stories about it all over the web.
We have also had comments on these awards, especially the Twit Awards, which caused controversy – something that is always guaranteed to pull in readers and make them feel part of the community – as anyone could comment, as long as they are moderated!
The magazine is celebrating its 25th anniversary so we have also included content from archived issues to pull in alumni from past years, not just recent alumni.
We have included a slideshow of old covers and prominent features from previous issues. These are being released daily until the release of the 2011 issue and exclusive cover. This helps pull in City journo students from all years and builds anticipation for our issue too.
We know that these tools have increased readership as the numbers are up dramatically from last year’s website, at over 17,000 in under four weeks. And this is only set to grow. Interactive websites are wonderful tools that should not be underestimated.